A Few Words About Steven

How to explain Steven Spurrier? Wine merchant, world traveller, explorer of cellar and vineyard. His Paris career saw him turn teacher, taster, wine educator and enthusiast. A third incarnation as author, columnist and communicator firmly established him on the world stage. Then lastly (septuagenarian status notwithstanding) he became a grower, wine maker and pioneer of Bride Valley Dorset sparkling wine, and the founder of our publishing house. Steven’s contribution to the wine world has been phenomenal. But he was usually too modest to tell the full story himself.

Steven Spurrier remains as important a figure in the wine world today as he has been since 1976, when the Judgement of Paris not only put California wines on the map but also propelled him into wine ’s global spotlight. In the last five years alone, Steven was named Decanter Man of the Year (2017), IWSC (International Wine & Spirits Competition) Honorary Chair (2019) and Honorary President of the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) (2017 to 2020). I have also worked closely with him on the creation of his brainchild, the Académie du Vin Library, which was launched in 2019 with a new edition of Michael Broadbent’s groundbreaking Wine Tasting, shortly before Michael’s 92nd birthday. Steven’s A Life in Wine is the eighth title for the Académie du Vin Library. These recent accomplishments have coincided with what perhaps may prove to be his most enduring venture yet: the nurturing of Bride Valley Vineyard in Dorset, now pitching its excellent Brut Reserve, Blanc de Blancs, high-end Chardonnay and – importantly, in a new departure for English wines – its Crémant, into the top flight of English wines. Indeed, it was Steven’s achievements in recent years that motivated me to refresh and republish his memoirs, this time with the benefit of personal tributes from some of the notable wine-world figures who were proud to call him their friend, advisor and inspiration. They reflect on Steven’s impact on their own lives, and his immense influence on wine globally. His enthusiasm and love of wine will live on through Bride Valley, the relaunched Académie du Vin in Canada, and our publishing as well as through the work of the many wine makers, wine writers and wine educators he championed.

Simon McMurtrie, Chairman, Académie du Vin Library and WSET